Do you want to improve your WordPress site's loading speed?
Doesn't matter if it is a blog, ecommerce store, personal project or any kind of website, speed will always be an important thing to achieve. Fast websites always rank higher on Google, get more traffic and give our users a good browsing experience.
How to Speed Up Your WordPress Website
Here are 9 simple tips and tricks to improve your website's performance:
- Start Using Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- Choose a Good Hosting Provider
- Get a WordPress Caching Plugin
- Use Simple Templates
- Compress Your Images
- Optimize Your Database
- Use Lazy Loading
- Get Rid of Unwanted Plugins
- Enable Gzip Compression
How to Test Your WordPress Website’s Speed?
So what do we consider a fast website?
According to Google average website load time – 1 to 2.5 seconds. Each second beyond 2 seconds results in bigger bounce rates. In fact, most of the desktop users prefer their website to load faster than in 2 seconds.
In addition to that, mobile users tend to bounce off the website if it does not load in 3 seconds or less. Talking about mobile users - Google updated its research about mobile website speed and how it influences bouncing rates.
Is your website fast enough to keep people from bouncing? Let’s find out!
To know if your website is fast enough to keep your customers hanging, I would suggest measuring your WordPress website’s speed. There’s a lot of online tools to choose from to measure your website’s loading time.
One of the tools for accurate results - webpagetest.org.
It does 3 test runs and you get in-depth results. You can check how long it took to load your website each time and even watch a video of how your website loaded.
Since you already know how to measure your website's loading speed - you can already figure out if you need to speed up your WordPress. Let's move on to how to speed up your WordPress.
1. Start Using Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Content Delivery Network is a group of servers that are distributed geographically that help your users to reach your website faster. CDN speeds up your website while using multiple servers available for global users. According to our test, CDN can make your WordPress website 4 times faster.
People who are visiting your website may be located in different parts of the world. That means you have thousands of logins from all around the globe that all connect to the same server.
If you want your WordPress website to load fast to all of these customers from various locations you also must have various servers close to them. That's the main job of CDN - it's a service that ensures the least amount of distance is traveled between a visitor and the server.
Meaning that your site's loading speed will increase because you shorten the path between a customer and the server that stores your cache.
2. Choose a Good Hosting Provider
It’s important to choose a hosting type that is fit for you. There are several good things that your hosting provider can do to improve your WordPress website loading speed. Those include - good response time and data centers available close to your targeted audience’s location.
Currently, there are 4 the most popular hosting types that hosting providers offer: shared hosting, virtual private server hosting (VPS), dedicated server hosting, and cloud hosting. There’s an in-depth guide for more information about these types of hosting.
VPS, Cloud and Dedicated Server hosting options might be more reliable if you have a big website that experiences high traffic or you’re running a big ecommerce website. That’s because you don’t share your server resources with other websites when you go for this type of hosting.
On the other hand, this choice might be expensive. So a more affordable option would be shared hosting. By using shared hosting, you share your server resources with other users. That’s why this hosting option tends to be much cheaper than other hosting packages.
It's important to choose a provider that offers WordPress optimized servers. Usually, this hosting option will have a one-click WordPress installation and a WordPress-centered support team.
Though you have to be careful when choosing a shared hosting plan. Be sure to check the response time of your provider. Moreover, you should think where your target audience is located and make sure that your hosting provider has data centers close to that location. If your hosting provider has data centers in the US and you want to sell in EU, ping issues may happen and it will slow you down.
If a hosting provider offers WordPress optimized servers, has good response time and its data centers are located close to your targeted audience - you chose a good one. And choosing a good hosting provider is essential for great website performance.
3. Get a WordPress Caching Plugin
WordPress caching plugins cache your website's static files so it loads faster for your user.
There are 3 types of caching that can speed up your WordPress - site cache, browser cache, server cache. All three of them can be used to improve your loading speed. Most of the caching works at the user’s end - their browser saves static files that make your website load faster the second time they visit.
There's an easy way to improve your page's performance - and that's using a WordPress plugin that improves your site caching. What they do, is that when a user visits a page for the first time - content is memorized and cached. When that same page is visited again, the site cache is able to recall the same content, then load it much quicker when compared to the first time. Each visit to the same page is also loaded just as quickly from the cache.
There are many plugins that you can use for site caching - WPRocket, WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache, WP Fastest Cache, etc.
For example, WPRocket is easy to use - you can activate the plugin with one click and you’re ready to go. You can also go in-depth with its settings if you’re not pleased with the optimization that it offers.
Using caching plugins is a great way to deliver a good user experience with a fast loading website.
4. Use Simple Templates
We all want our websites to be modern-looking and attractive to a visitor. However, to achieve this you don't have to overload your page with overdone, over the top templates.
Always remember - less is more. The more you add to your template, the longer it will take to load. Some designs can carry way too many unnecessary elements that you won't ever use.
Go for a lightweight WordPress theme. There's no shortage of user-friendly, minimalistic themes that won't put a strain on your site's speed. To find one, look through the WordPress theme directory or ThemeForest.
Be cautious though, because some templates may look simple and optimized for users but you may have a hard time with their back end.
Be sure to choose a template that won't slow you down. Lightweight and simple themes are great if you want your WordPress website to load fast.
5. Compress Your Images
Reducing the size of your images is crucial for your website's loading speed. That's especially true if you’re running a blog, a photography site or any kind of personal project that requires a lot of visuals.
Visual files you use in your content should be optimized for quick loading. That means that you should reduce the size of your images by compressing them.
The easiest way to compress your images is to use online tools such as compressor.io. It is free and easy to access. It supports both .png and .jpg files and reduces your images' weight massively.
There’s also an alternative - a plugin called Smush. It optimizes your media content without completely ruining the quality.
Smush scans every image you upload and scales it down before adding it to the media library. Bonus - it also works on the images that are already added on your website, without you having to replace anything.
Compressing your images is an easy way to reduce the strain on your website. The less those images weigh, the less server resources are used to load your website. All that leads to a faster WordPress.
6. Optimize Your Database
Databases are used to store important files, including sales transactions, product catalogs, and customer profiles. Despite that, databases tend to store some files that you do not need - it may be spam, outdated content or unused files. To avoid bloating and slowing down your website, you should get rid of that unnecessary junk.
Backup takes a lot of your server’s resources, so the more copied data they store, the more your speed may suffer. To get rid of that problem, you should optimize your database by deleting unnecessary files that don’t need restoring.
Because database stores important information - backups are crucial. Backup is a copy of your website’s data, that you can restore, in case of a DDoS attack or something critical that could harm your website.
It may seem like an advanced step to take, but there are plugins that optimize your database automatically. For example, Advanced Database Cleaner.
With this plugin you can schedule your database clean up to run automatically, choose what items to clean-up and optimize your database easily.
Additionally, there are some settings you can change to further optimize the WordPress database. For example, WordPress stores revisions and autosaves for 30 days. To lessen the size of your backups, you can reduce this time to, let’s say, 15 days or so.
If you optimize the WordPress database, you reduce the size of your backups. Smaller backups use less server resources. So, a smaller database helps your website to load faster.
7. Use Lazy Loading
Images and videos weigh the most, so they might put a strain on your website's performance.
To avoid WordPress being slow while it is busy loading all of your visual content, you can use lazy loading.
How does Lazy Loading work? It only loads part of a website that your visitor is currently on. Whenever the user scrolls down, then it focuses on loading those pictures up. Basically, Lazy Loading just means loading "on the go".
It's a good solution to balance out a visually stunning website and a great user experience.
By not loading everything at once, Lazy Loading combines the best of both worlds - visual user experience and fast loading times.
8. Get Rid of Unwanted Plugins
If you want to improve WordPress speed and enjoy a fast loading website you should also take a look at plugins that you don’t use anymore. Unused plugins take up space, slow down your WordPress and might interfere with other plugins that you are already using.
There is a plugin for nearly any task imaginable. But be sure to choose only the plugins that are absolutely necessary.
Unneeded active plugins can be disabled and uninstalled to lessen the load on your site.
To avoid overloading a website with a bunch of plugins, try third-party services outside of WordPress as an alternative to plugins.
Removing unnecessary plugins will lessen the strain on your website and optimize your website's loading time.
9. Enable GZip Compression
Friendly advice: gzip file compression allows you to compress videos and .mp3 files as well. Don't do that - sometimes, compressing these types of files might result in them weighing more than they did before. You should stick to compressing HTML, CSS and JS files only.
Reducing file size is a standard method for optimizing WordPress.
Benefits of Speeding Up Your WordPress Website
So why speeding up WordPress is useful, essential, even? Here are 3 reasons why you should improve your WordPress website loading speed.
Fast Loading Equals More Visitors
A slow website is the main thing that scares away potential visitors and customers. You should know that if your website takes more than 3 seconds to load nearly 80% of visitors will leave it.
When your website takes more than a few seconds to load - you're dealing with your user's patience. Since webpages do not have loading bars, your visitors can't be sure - will it load in 1 extra second or will it take another 10? And the option to go back or bounce to another website is right there.
All in all, you don’t have much of a time window to make customers stay.
Faster WordPress Site Profits You More
Improving your website’s speed may increase your profit as well.
If you’re running an ecommerce store - you lose money every millisecond your website is loading. Vice versa, if you improve your website’s speed, your income increases.
There’s a cool feature on thinkwithgoogle.com where you can test your website and calculate how much you can profit if you improve your website’s loading speed.
For example, your page loads in 5 seconds and we want to see how things would change if we make it load in 2 seconds. If we have around 50,000 monthly visitors, conversion rate at the 1% and average order value as 200$ - your potential annual increase is nearly 118,000$! A huge amount of money, I’d say.
Website Speed Affects Your Position in SERPs
The website's loading speed is one of the most important ranking factors on search engines. Meaning that if you speed up your WordPress website, your site can rank higher than it did before. It's especially important that your website performs well on mobile devices.
Google has announced that how your website performs on a mobile device will affect your website's position in search results. Before this decision, the website's loading speed was relevant as well, but mostly for desktops.
So a good website speed can help you increase traffic, popularity and score a better position in SERPs.
How to Speed Up WordPress - A Verdict
A slow website can scare away visitors, but thankfully there are a lot of things you can do to improve your WordPress website’s loading speed.
A good hosting provider is a base for a well-performing website. Moreover, clever usage of plugins can save your website from slow loading time. All that's left is to compress your images and use them in a minimalistic template and you're ready to go.
Hope this guide helped you reach an improvement in your website's loading speed. Good luck on further web developing!